Friday, September 30, 2011

Where You Live: Great Ideas Year-Round -- Sign Up for A Better Homes and Garden Magazine Subscription.

Two Great Gift Ideas in One!
Better Homes and Garden Has Released its 
2011 New Decorating Book.

Leave your name and email in the comment box that follows this post! 
I will be drawing two names on Friday, Oct. 21; those recipients will receive a year's subscription to Better Homes and Garden Magazine.


At first glance, you might think The New Decorating Book is geared more toward tantalizing the design preferences of a bolder, budget-oriented generation. Actually, and speaking overall, it is a book my grown daughter (and I refuse to age myself by divulging her years) would love. While I do think it really hits a BiG home run with the 25- to 40-year-old set, I need to square away something. There are definitely some informational tidbits and inspirational photos that surely will help and appeal to all ages! So if you do initially buy it for a son, daughter, friend . . .I encourage you to include some one-on-one time perusing the 300-plus pages! I did. It's fun, and it's worth it. Even if it some of it comes across as, more or less, of a reminder -- or as tips worthy of passing along to friends and family.

A bonus with all book purchases -- and this is separate from my October 21 drawing -- is a one-year subscription to Better Homes and Garden, one of my long-time favorite magazines. I love that!! A little lagniappe -- something extra to be had, as they say in 
New Orleans.

The New Decorating Book -- and it's so aptly titled -- is chock full full of decorating advice. Very detailed. Lots of photos. Extremely Approachable and Doable. Lots of DIY Ideas. Very Cool; Very Affordable.

Section One of the book includes chapters divided by rooms. Living Rooms. Dining Rooms. Entries. Family Rooms. Mud Rooms. Bathrooms. Work Spaces. And more. 

Section Two launches a tour into various home styles. Modern Cottage. Loft-style. Classic Bungalow. Today's Farmhouse. Fresh Traditional. Scandinavian Modern. And more. 

Section Three address the stuff you need to know. About Using Color. Tips on How to Make a Room More Livable. A Review of Materials. Shopping Tips. And more.

 In the chapter about "Personal Mix," this photo -- which I'm drawn to --
gives traditional style a fresh new twist. The vintage desk, painted hot pink, 
is paired with a playful chair (Philippe Starck?) The yellow trellis print
wallpaper offers a traditional vibe in a fun way.
In the chapter about Small Spaces, editors address color and offer budget tips.
And they promise no one will think "budget" when you take their suggestions.
For instance, "add a full-length skirt to disguise a stained or weathered chair seat."

In the chapter titled, Savvy Remodel, the discussion here revolves around using a neutral color on the wall to allow for pops of color in the curtains, pillows, rugs and accessories.

In the Living Room chapter, editors address problem-solving window treatments. For instance, "widen a narrow window by surrounding it with curtains that hang outside the frame . . . . Add style pizazz with a bold fabric."

In Small Spaces, discover how to master color.
Editors say not to overwhelm a small space. Shop for a dusky yellow -- like Dijon mustard, beeswax or corn silk -- for a grounding effect. Since yellow visually expands a room, it's great in a hallway or foyer.

 As part of the chapter on Fresh Traditional, "bold curtain panels create a focal point in the kitchen." (The curtains also serve as a continuity design element, as the pattern is used in the dining room -- seen in an accompanying photo.) 

 Again in Personal Mix, editors share 10 ideas on how to get a new, fresh traditional look. 
One is to mix in bright colors, such as sunshine yellow, "to keep stodginess at bay." Another is to "tint it;" the additional of a soft pastel might just be the right touch.

Back in the Living Room chapter, find lessons on mastering the use of mixing patterns.
First, they say, it's important to build a color scheme. Also, consider the size of the room. Small patterns can disappear in a large space. Use color repetition to tie together patterns.

The Workroom Chapter includes the lessons and tips you need to know about when decorating. Here is a DIY -- do-it-yourself -- idea to perk up a sisal rug. "Select a simple pattern. Use painter's tape and a straight edge to create your pattern. Paint the design or, in this case, squares using interior semi-gloss paint. Dip a flat trimming brush into the paint and then pounce it on the rug vertically to cover each section. Work into the edges."

Need a headboard. Try this: Cut a headboard shape from medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which provides a nice surface for painting. Choose a large-scale stencil and then paint.
I just suggested this idea to a friend who was pleased to have the tip. So, when I saw it in the book, I thought I'd share it here in this post as well. Still in the Work Room Chapter:
Trace your artwork sizes onto kraft paper, cut them out and then hang with tape. You get to look at the arrangement and tweak it before you hammer.

Also in the Workroom are tips on how to achieve the best placement for furniture.
In this case, consider you have one free wall and one wide entry: 
"1. Use an L-shape sectional to focus on both the fireplace and television.
2. Arrange chairs to they don't obstruct foot traffic.
3. Group tables with seating.
4. Choose chairs that swivel."

Want to know about lighting for a dining room, kitchen and other spaces . . . well, this book has the information to share. In a dining room like this one, you probably want an overhead fixture (1), which should hang 30 to 36 inches above the table, typically speaking; recessed can lights (2) at their lowest settings can induce a bistro-like setting; accent lights (3) can highlight favorite china selections or collectibles; and task lamps on the sideboard or buffet (4) provide lighting for serving or ambiance.

The more I look at this book, the more likely Kate is not going to get this copy. It lures me in with color and lots of pattern mixes. Plus, it really covers it all: curtains, paint, lighting, art placement, various styles, after looks based on befores . . . . You get a lot of bang for the buck in this book. Guess I'll have to buy Kate her own edition. In fact, I want to share more with you all now. But, perhaps another time, yes?!an

If you're interested in this book, get it here:

 Hope you enjoyed a look inside. 
Be sure to leave your name and email below in the Comment Box to receive possibly a one-year subscription to Better Homes and Garden magazine. Drawing is Oct. 21, midnight.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Where You Live: One "A-List" Designer Has Me Thinking About What Inspires . . . And, By the Way, Where Do You Find It?

As it Turns Out, Sources of Inspiration 
Might Be Right Under Your Nose.  
Ever notice how a little bit of white makes everything pop, especially when intermingled with darker colors?Like red and purple but not sure if they work together?
This brightly painted livestock feed trough holds the answer. Which is Yes.

Interior Designer Barry Dixon's new book -- aptly called Barry Dixon Inspirations -- explores the idea of looking at ordinary things around you in ways that allow you to identify what 
you truly love and appreciate. In other words, what speaks to you.  And during those moments of re-discovery, you likely will find the answers to some of your decorating dilemmas.  And if you need design guidance, buy his book. He's the design sherpa we've all wanted, as he understands more than one style . . . .

I have gathered up some my own images to share in hopes of reinforcing his point even more. Ah, the point, to be sure, is to look, ponder and determine what you like -- or don't.

Going From Book to . . . 

. . . lunching with a friend recently. At some point, she invited my opinion on a possible color palette for her new home. Since I haven't know her for long, I took the stand-by approach and suggested she look inside her own closet for inspiration. "What colors do you wear most often?" Her answer was black, brown and white. Colors she didn't want surrounding her, she added..

So what if she looked around her, as Barry Dixon suggests in his book. What if she looked to the sky, in her garden shed or elsewhere? I wonder if she might find two or three colors she loves?

Below is a photo of my Aussie, Sam. (And the truth be told, I do like showing him off.) He sits on the front porch of our log house. I like this snapshot for several reasons. First and foremost, though, it feels inviting for me -- even if he chose this moment not to smile. And, I like the simple screen door. As a take away for those who wonder what this composition might inspire . . .

 . . . how about the nostalia screen doors tend to conjure up? If you like the mood they evoke, then get creative.  For example, I've  seen them used in new kitchens to seal off a pantry opening, creating a warmer and more grounded look.

I didn't have an example at my fingertips of where screen doors have been placed in kitchens, but I did have this image. The pantry door is actually an old rustic one that offsets the shiny newness of this kitchen. This homeowner focused on incorporating rustic touches in her new home to make it feel inviting and lived in. 

An old weathered store counter inspired another homeowner to use it in her kitchen:

When I snapped this photo below, I heard someone nearby comment that she needed a relaxing place in her own yard. I bet this scene inspired her to make changes in her yard. Maybe she already had the snoozing dogs . . . .

In the same yard,a ladder and hutch inspire new approaches:

A showhouse designer recently used an old weathered corbel to design a side table. I think she did it to give a grounded edge to an otherwise all-new and perfectly placed room. It makes it real, more approachable . . . .

In addition to books, photos and ordinary things around me, I've been setting aside some of the zillion catalogues I receive in the mail. Their stylists and photographers offer some great home design inspiration. In addition to savoring placement and other ideas, I also consider what's being "overused." After all, I don't want someone to come into my house and ask if I copied Pottery Barn, Restoraration Hardware or West Elm, whose catalogue also offers some nice ideas. I want my house to be as personalized as Barry Dixon would hope for me. 

I pulled some that I liked for one or more reasons:

Restoration Hardware. I liked the look of the stripped Oak. However, for me, I like it used sparingly. But, still, it gave me a visual to consider.

Pottery Barn. I liked the quilts -- but they're part of a traditional decor that doesn't feel like grandma's house either.

Pottery Barn.   This inspired thoughts about using old silver goblets or other 
interesting pieces as vases.

Restoration Hardware. Someone who liked the coziness wingback chairs offer transferred
their design over to a headboard that certainly would accommodate late-night readers.

Pottery Barn. A new idea for blue jeans?!

Please visit Gifts, Books and Favorites, to read my other new post that spotlights "Barry Dixon's Inspirations." I've also pulled some of the design tips he shares within. Additionally, enjoy some of the projects, like the one below that he's worked on and now showcases.

Love-love-love to hear from you. And I gotta ask: What inspires you? Where do you find it? 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Where You Live: Canvas Photos! Turn Your Favorite Snapshot Into Orignal Art

I Am Hooked!
Last Year I Took a Photo From the Window of My Car
of a New Mexico Landscape . . .
Even though I was in mountain country, it reminded my of a serene beach scene.

Easy Canvas Prints allowed me to take this digitalized memory and turn it into a work 
of art.

 I decided to sign it to make it more authentic.

Love it. Love it!  What a nice, personalized gift idea, these photo canvases could be!
For Christmas. A housewarming. Perhaps in celebration of a memorable birthday. 

Between now and September 22, you can buy one canvas and get one free -- PLUS free shipping. It doesn't getting any better than that!  (When you go to their site, Easy Canvas Prints walks you through the process.) Purchase one for you, and get another for a friend or family member. I am so hooked on this idea that I want to purchase more original artwork. Go here for the deal. 

If you happen to miss this deal, sign up for their emails or check their site often, as they seem to be always announcing a discount or other attractive deal-of-the-day.

I have my beach-mountain photo hanging in my bedroom. 
Here you go, so you can see the quality and canvas expectation:

Easy Canvas Prints provides an idea gallery, if you want some inspiration -- in addition to answering your basic questions. They offer eight basic sizes, the option to customize height and width, and a few other selections. 
When I find something I like, I gotta share it. So, get out your camera and start capturing memories that you can turn into original art! Shoot large! I'm off now to search my photo files. I really love this! Hope you do, too.

Thank you for stopping by. As always, I enjoy hearing from you. It makes my day!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Where You Live: Faux Finishing Expert, Leslie Sinclair, Reveals Her Favorite Projects

Anyone in Houston -- and Even Those Living Outside 
the Country's Fourth Largest City -- Who Wants Plaster Walls 
or Artistic Decorative Designs Turns to Segreto Fine Paint Finishes
An A-List Clientele Gives Them Opportunity to Showcase What They Do Best.
And for all of us, we benefit by enjoying the inspiration!

I would like to introduce you to Leslie Sinclair, owner of Segreto Finishes and now author of the must-read blog, Secrets of Segreto-Home
Leslie is a woman to be admired. A mother of three,she left a successful career years ago to pursue an entrepreneurial dream. She began by using her own home as both a lab and canvas. After perfecting her craft and securing a few jobs, people soon became wowed -- and also hooked on unique works of art that could transform their home. 
She now employs up to 30 people. Additionally, she has written a book.
I invited her to write a guest blog regarding her favorite projects, so without further ado
. . . In Her Own Words:

"People always ask me what are you working on, and what are your favorite projects? Honestly, that’s a hard question to answer, because I love them all.  

Each home is different; each person is unique, so to make what they have both personal and beautiful is always gratifying!

I adore  the natural gypsum-based plasters.  When installed correctly, they give a home such warmth and depth without over powering a space.  Unlike many finishes, I love the subtleties of this finish in large areas. The intent is not to add drama or overpower the fabrics, architecture or furnishings but to create a perfect backdrop to these spaces enhancing their beauty. 

Plasters are also wonderful for a dining room or entrance or powder. Because they are softer finishes, even in rooms that do not have cased openings, the edges can be taped off and the rest of the home can be painted a color found within the plaster. 

Cabinet finishes are amazing to watch. The transformation of these spray-painted built-ins into finished furniture pieces is amazing. I love how paint can take a surface and change it from uninteresting to dramatic, or soften it by giving variation to the finish.  

There are always new slants on old techniques, and I love some of the metal papers now available. They are wonderful options to quilting pieces.  We also have come up with some wonderful finishes that are less labor intensive, allowing the client to fit all in their budget or do more.

Powders are always fun to work in — a place to go all out. Because the space is so small, budget isn’t typically a concern. If the vanity of mirrors and sconces are the focal then I suggest something more simple on the walls.

If theses smaller rooms can handle drama without being overpowering, then I say: Go for it!  

Creating a one-of-a-kind stencil design, a Gracie wallpaper look or an fresco-type mural that represents a special place . .  well, it’s a wonderful room to get creative in. 

I remember when I first started in the business and someone told me that I was the children’s room expert. I immediately edited that perception by saying, 'I do grown up spaces too!!'  Now that my kids have flown the coop, I so enjoy being able to create this magical spaces for the younger set!!  

I will never get tired of the endless possibilities that paint provides  and will never get bored.  I love my niche in the world of interiors!!  The only drawback is I am constantly changing my home—I do something magnificent for a client and I want that too!  My poor husband!

 I have always published portfolio books for my own use. My clients have always wanted to purchase them, so I just completed a 300-page oversized coffee table book that shares beautiful photos of the homes I am privileged to visit and help transform. Within the book, I give tips on the selected finishes, in addition to sharing a wonderful resource directory for anyone interested in home design.  What a joy it was for me to go back and revisit all of these wonderful homes."

Thank you, Leslie! For additional guest blogs, go here.

We all love comments, and I'm no exception. I hope you'll say hello. 
And if you possibly have a guest blog idea, please email me. Have fun today.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Where You Live: Function Meets Design in Taos, New Mexico

A Friend Sent Along Photos of This Home,
Located Just 15 Miles North of Taos, New Mexico.
It's situated on 3.5 acres, lush with Ponderosa, Pinyon and cedar -- 
on Lama Mountain 

I thought I'd share what they did -- and what caught my attention. 
For example, I especially like the Japanese influences, which you'll see in the bedroom and bath photos.

  Nice, thoughtful touches begin at the front door, which was constructed of Spanish cedar. The aluminum-clad windows are framed in Douglas fir. Recycled Styrofoam rastra walls eliminate chance of condensation while also providing extra insulation. 

Imagine warming up next to this Rumsford fireplace.  The massive Ponderosa beams placed throughout the home were harvested right there on Lama Mountain.

The 9-foot bamboo-etched Shoji Screen provides privacy -- and evokes warmth. Beyond is a Murphy bed in the guest room.

 The Shoji screen is used to conceal the Murphy bed when it's not in use.

 Simplicity is key in the master. The floor is bamboo.

 A colbalt sink sits on Honduras mahogany. The dressing area includes a built-in maple dresser and storage. It also features an ofuro, a Japanese soaking tub.

  The bench is Pennsylvania Bluestone.

 The banco nook is a perfect spot for bird watching -- or curling up with a good book.

There is more to see of this 1,700-square-foot home! 
The homeowner's Web site is located here. 
Terri is looking to sell or rent the house. If you're interested, you can contact her at 
575-586-2105. (Thanks, Elise, for sharing the photos and information!)
Photos by Paulette Steensen-Jacobs.

The Japanese soaking tub below was a featured item in a rather unique home in Salida, Co. Read about it here, in case you missed it. They used a lot of found items to make their home a stand-out.

Always love to hear from you! My comment box is below.
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